Starting a Conversion

A single conversion is started by writing a '0' to the Power Reduction ADC bit in the Power Reduction Register (PRR0.PRADC), and writing a '1' to the ADC Start Conversion bit in the ADC Control and Status Register A (ADCSRA.ADSC). ADCS will stay high as long as the conversion is in progress, and will be cleared by hardware when the conversion is completed. If a different data channel is selected while a conversion is in progress, the ADC will finish the current conversion before performing the channel change.

Alternatively, a conversion can be triggered automatically by various sources. Auto triggering is enabled by setting the ADC Auto Trigger Enable bit (ADCSRA.ADATE). The trigger source is selected by setting the ADC Trigger Select bits in the ADC Control and Status Register B (ADCSRB.ADTS). See the description of the ADCSRB.ADTS for a list of available trigger sources.

When a positive edge occurs on the selected trigger signal, the ADC prescaler is reset and a conversion is started. This provides a method of starting conversions at fixed intervals. If the trigger signal still is set when the conversion completes, a new conversion will not be started. If another positive edge occurs on the trigger signal during conversion, the edge will be ignored. Note that an interrupt flag will be set even if the specific interrupt is disabled or the Global Interrupt Enable bit in the AVR Status Register (SREG.I) is cleared. A conversion can thus be triggered without causing an interrupt. However, the interrupt flag must be cleared in order to trigger a new conversion at the next interrupt event.

Figure 1. ADC Auto Trigger Logic

Using the ADC interrupt flag as a trigger source makes the ADC start a new conversion as soon as the ongoing conversion has finished. The ADC then operates in Free Running mode, constantly sampling and updating the ADC data register. The first conversion must be started by writing a '1' to ADCSRA.ADSC. In this mode, the ADC will perform successive conversions independently of whether the ADC Interrupt Flag (ADIF) is cleared or not.

If Auto triggering is enabled, single conversions can be started by writing ADCSRA.ADSC to '1'. ADSC can also be used to determine if a conversion is in progress. The ADSC bit will be read as '1' during a conversion, independently of how the conversion was started.